Dubbed Operation Island Heat and after a 2 1/2 year investigation, law enforcement officers say, the drugs and firearms trafficking operation functioned within Orange and Osceola Counties. The organization also had strong ties in Puerto Rico from where the drugs were imported into the U.S. and to where firearms were exported.
Investigators said, the men at the center of the racketeering organization were: Edmundo Caraballo Olivero, 40, and Raul Prado Soto, 14, both Hispanic. Soto owned and used a local restaurant, La Terraza Restaurant, located at 6432 East Colonial Drive, as a base of operation.
Agents also said, other members of the cocaine trafficking organization sold trafficking amounts of cocaine to undercover agents at other locations in Central Florida.
The organization smuggled multiple kilos of Cocaine from Puerto Rico that were later sold and distributed in East Orange County and Osceola County. Heroin and marijuana were also sold and distributed. The US Postal Service was used to facilitate the transport of the contraband.
Undercover agents were also able to purchase and seize firearms from the organization that varied from handguns to assault style rifles. Several firearms were packaged to be illegally shipped through the US Postal Service to Puerto Rico.
Over 6 Kilos of Cocaine were seized, and over 30 firearms were recovered, during the investigation, agents said. And three search warrants were executed in Orange County.
The twenty-four defendants are expected to face racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering and trafficking in cocaine charges, among others.
MBI worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the conduct of this investigation.
A press conference will be held later today, Wednesday, to provide further details of the investigation.
Anyone with additional information related to this Drug Trafficking Organization is urged to contact MBI or ATF at 407-836-9701 or Crimeline at 407-423-TIPS.